Catching the Rye in a Field of Dreams

IMG_1545.JPGIf you look at the Wikipedia page for “The Catcher in the Rye”, you’ll notice that they introduce the novel as being “A controversial novel originally published for adults”. When I first opened the book as it was handed out in class, I noticed a few things, just by looking at the first page.

1: Holden Caulfield curses like nothing you have ever seen. I don’t think he can go more than a sentence without some curse word.

2: He complains about life A LOT. It seems like he’s always complaining about one thing or the other.

Now, I can see how this would be a problem for parents when these books were being used in schools. As I kept reading, especially Chapter 13, I started to notice how more and more scandalous the book had become. Holden hires a prostitute for himself and he’s a minor.

This definitely isn’t something that most parents would be okay with their children reading, and that’s understandable. In the 1960s this was a huge problem for parents. A teacher was even fired for teaching the book in his class.

As United States citizens, we have the right to free speech and free press. This includes books that are written and published. It’s not fair for parents to take that right away from someone else.

In the movie Field of Dreams, there is a scene where all the parents meet at the school to discuss problems. A woman is at the center of attention giving a speech about how the books being chosen to read in the class are unfit for children. She states that the book is pure pornography and another man stands up to put in his vulgar opinion about the author and why he quit writing.

When the wife of the main character, Annie, stood up to protest, she was able to express her freedom of speech. The woman was using her freedom of speech to protest against the books. So why are they taking that freedom away from someone else? Annie was able to convince most of the room that the man is able to use his freedom and she protested against the woman.

“The Catcher in the Rye” is a book that can be seen as inappropriate for children and people tried to protest against it just like this woman is protesting about The Boat Rocker.

Another similarity between these two movies is the talking to dead people. That sounds a bit odd, but it happens in both the book and the movie. In “The Catcher in the Rye”, Holden has a brother named Allie who died of leukemia. Holden starts going a bit crazy towards the end of the book and as he’s walking back and forth down the sidewalk in New York (Chapter 25), he starts talking to Allie. Holden took his brother’s death extremely hard, even if he doesn’t like to admit it because it makes him look vulnerable. Allie was Holden’s hero even though Allie was younger than him.

In Field of Dreams, the whole movie is based off of a voice calling out to the main character, Ray, telling him to do different things that are impulsive and seemingly crazy decisions. Ray builds a baseball field in his crops and suddenly deceased baseball stars start showing up to the field. They start out as only one player: “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and then suddenly turn into two full teams of players. They can only be seen by Ray’s family and everyone thinks he’s crazy because he’s talking to dead people.

Both Holden and Ray felt better as they talked to their heroes and they didn’t listen to other people telling them they were crazy or weird. The people who they looked up to when they were younger provided them with friends and a comfort they didn’t have from the real people of the world.

These two different forms of art were brought together by similar events that happened in their respected platforms. The similarities between the two movies go from talking to dead people to impulsive decisions to burning books.

This brought together two very different scenes on different timelines that were able to connect together and I think that really brings together the whole experience of reading this book.

 

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